Monday, 12 November 2018

The what now Pi4?

While we all wait for the Raspberry Pi4 which, if it exists won't be announced until Pi Day   (14th March)
A possible contender for best SBC ever, has come up, and almost immediatly gone down in my estitmations.


the Rock Pi 4,  visible at

Looks like a total beast of a machine, a Raspberry config but based on a Rockchip 3399..... that's a beast...

At first glance I was salivating, I'm already falling in love with my T4 and Neo4 from Friendly arm, and a $39 RK3399 equiped chip with full ports is a bargain.
But nothing about the company behind the launch of this newcomer inspires me, its touted in the press releases as costing $39 up...nope, after a few days of being unable to find a retail supplier, it turns out the base price is closer to 68euros, exclusing postage, or heat sinks that almost certainly will be needed for an RK3399.

So its going to be around twice the price of a 3B+, but  you will get about twice the power in theory, the hexacore RK3999 is extremely fast and smooth to use, and the GPU is also wonderful, though I have fears about the drivers not being fully implimented yet.

In short this is a sexy beast, but it looks like they announced it a couple of weeks too early. The sites are woeful, the retail is non existant, and no idea what the final cost is going to be. And who knows how effective performace really is until we see an OS running.

Its locked itself into its own drawer of shame, but I'll check back in a month or so to see if they've got the price, the supply and most important the software under control

Monday, 29 October 2018

Using Code::Blocks libs

Here's a small screen shot for people having issues with MagPi lessons regarding library names

This shows the path name you need to enter under the linkers dirs

And this shows the names, even though they are listed as libGLESv2_static.xx, etc

they may be .a or .so files its not really important, it will include them as part of the project

Friday, 5 October 2018

Fixed the ubuntu issues

In the end it wasn't anything strange, I just never noticed I was not logging in on root, and the xserver was therefor restricted. log in as root, or add xhost+ and you can then get access.

Sadly however I was still unable to get the T4 to work, it refuses to update itself without error, meaning I don't have a full set of features to compile and run the demos. Upsetting but I'll just wait a  while for a new more effective OS to come out.

Edit... I reinstalled, and then instead of allowing the onboard updater to work, did my own upgrade-dist and got it to update and work fine,
I had to instal x11 as a dev lib but once up and running its all good.

Not so sure that the Mali GPU divers are fully hardware accelerated though, as I get the same GLMark2 mark with and with out VBO's which is not sensible....meaning it may be emulating a lot.

The CPU is blistering once those drivers get a bit more uptodate, this will be an odroid beater.

Monday, 23 July 2018

hmm ubuntu issues?

The T4 is frustrating me, its exhibiting issues I had previously with the XU4, where a new version of ubuntu refused to open an X11 window...the test code compiles and runs fine, but I just can't open a window, so the gles init also fails and the test projects won't run.

It does seem to be an Ubuntu issue, as Debian systems work fine, sadly there is no debian for the T4 I need to do a bit of research on this.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Oh at last

Its been a long time since I could get a board, burn linux on it and immediately use it.
The T4 is such a board, it came with android installed, but I wanted Lubuntu, and hoped I could dual boot it from an SD, but that didn't work out, so I reflashed the eMMC with Lubuntu, very very simple

And wow, it works, its all thre, GLMark2-es2 works fine, though it is frame locked so never went above 50fps, not to worry running it offscreen (avoiding the frame lock) throws up a mark of 312, thats 3 times faster than a raspberry :D  And.....and.....OpenGLES3.2 yipeee

There's a small downside though, its froze on a 2nd turn of glmark2, it clearly got very hot even with the heat sink on board.. So it is a little fussy. Usually updates fix that, but I can' t get apt-get update to work
It says the dirs are locked....hmmm dunno how to fix that, so have posted on the forums.

I'm loving this board already... going to do a quick compare with the XU4 and Tinkerboard (after an update) to see how its glmarks compare. I'll set up a test project shortly to see how the standard demo plays. Its got a Mali 860Mp4 in there so its up there with the latest (in terms of SBC's, 5 years behind phones though) and has a nice bit of grunt, if we can control the overheat, it could be a contender.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

New boards arrived

After a bit of confusion, the new boards arrived from the very nice people at FriendlyArm, I do like these guys a lot, they are always so keen to help with my addic.....research :D, will try to get them buil\t up and tested this weekend.

I'm mostly curious about the H5 equipped K1plus and the Rockchip 3399  T4, which is a real beast on paper, we'll have to see if it has graphic drivers.

Also there's an M1+ which is an eMMC upgrade and onboard wifi version of the M1 I was always fond of, not a lot of power but one of the simpler non Raspberry boards to get working.
Curious to see if it offers anything new..I'm guessing no, but will be fine to try.

The T4 boots straight up to android 7 now problem, and has the play store on board so I was able to download a few different tests with no issue, its quite a nice board, though falls waaaay below the performance levels of the current crop of phones its being tested against.
I'm going to install Lubuntu and see how its GLMark2-es2 results compare, as well as my usual test projects
I'll play with the K1 and M1 at the weekend, as I have things to do and I don't want to get distracted.

Friday, 22 June 2018

New Boards incoming

I've been mad busy with work and website and demos and and and...

So aside from the funded long ago Kickstarter LibreH5  which still does not have a graphic OS yet

I've not been chasing many new boards.  :(

Which is a shame as I think we're in a bit of a new phase of board releases, with lots of new generation SBC's being released, H5's starting to take hold, H6's on the market (though poorly supported) and Rockchips mighty RK series of chips starting to grab a big share of the market and it seems also having some GPU support.

The lovely people at FriendlyArm are sending me 3 new boards. One of which I probably wouldn't buy normally but wanted to compare it with its precursor, the M1.  The M1 was one of my favorite dirt cheap boards, they cost $10-11 and were pretty much usable out of the box even had some graphic acceleration, though only ran at about 75% of the speed of a Raspberry in single core mode. for $11 though....bargain, 3 times the power of a RpiZero when used properly.

They are sending me the M1+, which is basically the same under powered board  but with extra features like wifi, eMMC and more memory, but its $38 so can't honestly see it being worth that price...unless you MUST have wifi and eMMC... but I am happy to try it out and check it all still works ok. I had noticed that later versions of Debian didn't work so well on the old M1. So we will see.

More exciting though they are also sending a K1+ which is an H5 version of their K2 android unit.  I haven't had a lot of luck getting a Linux OS running on it, but as an android machine its quite a lovely bit of kit.  But an H5 version has a Mali450 on it...hmmm and the wiki suggests it has OpenGLES on board ready as it can run GLMark2-es2  . That will be great to play with and in theory should comfortably outperform the Rpi. Perhaps I can use it as a benchmark for the other H5's in my drawer of shame.

It does seem that following last years release of Allwinners GPU binaries, there do seem to be more Allwinner systems comming to market with GPU enabled.

And very generous of them the T4, and RK3399 board, which is over my $100 limit so very excited to get hold of one and not have to spend pennies.

Yes for sure this is a new phase in SBC's there seems to be a lot of new, much more poweful chips coming on the market, as phones and tablets have upped the power outpuit, making their current chips less desirable and opening them up to the SBC market.

Soon as I can get all my work uptodate I will have to dig out the sleepers in the drawer of shame and see what can be done, especially the Allwinner and Rockchip based ones.